How about a kokoda in Fiji? Raw fish, lime, and coconut! With those three ingredients together, I could not miss out on this delicious recipe!
Fiji is a beautiful archipelago located in the South Pacific and formed by 322 islands, of which only a hundred are occupied. A true natural paradise, white sand beaches, coral reefs and crystal clear waters and especially the warmth of the Fijian population.
Bula, as the Fijians say! Or rather bula bula, which means “welcome” or “hello” and is always accompanied by a smile, a hug and often a glass of coffee, the traditional drink prepared for special occasions.
Yes, it deserves to be mentioned, the population of Fiji has the reputation of being warm, kind, and always smiling. As soon as you get off the plane, Fijians make you feel “like home”, even if you’re thousands of miles away from home! Talk about a dream!
The cuisine of Fiji is naturally rich in fish. The recipe I chose to prepare today, kokoda, is one of the most popular dishes of the country. Fish marinated with lime and coconut cream, and spiced.
Kokoda, which the Fijians pronounce kokonda is served mainly as an appetizer. Very easy to prepare, this dish does not require any cooking. It is served similarly to the delicious ceviche, a typical Latin American preparation, where the consumption of raw fish is also common with various spices, such as chili and cilantro, typical of the gastronomy of certain countries of Latin America on the Pacific coast, such as Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Chile, Guatemala, and Ecuador.
Raw fish is good for health as its nutritional benefits remain intact, especially for the heart and the brain because it is rich in vitamins A and D, minerals, and omega 3. I don’t want to scare you off, especially as many people are still worried about eating raw fish, just know that eating raw fish involves drastic but very simple and effective rules to ensure getting rid of all the parasites and precisely the famous little parasite called anisakis.
Here are some rules:
First and foremost, the freshness of the fish, of course. It should only smell the sea and iodine and should absolutely not feature a bad odor such as the smell of ammonia, which should be a sign of a fish that is not fresh!
Next, cleanliness, which is essential to prevent the proliferation of harmful bacteria. So the first thing is to make sure everything is clean around your fish, on your work surface.
And, finally the most important step is freezing. 70% of the fish sold around the world contain parasites but don’t panic! Before consuming raw fish, it is necessary to flash freeze it in order to kill all the bacteria.
In Europe, for example, the European Union Health Regulations recommend freezing the fish at a temperature of -30 F for at least 24 hours. This process has become mandatory around the world for tuna and salmon because of the success of sushi, maki, and sashimi. Defrosting of the fish should be done in the refrigerator or in a cold room.
The combination of coconut and raw fish is absolutely exquisite! Coconut, which is a gift of nature in Fiji, is the main ingredient of almost all local dishes. It is mainly consumed in the form of milk or cream. The coconut is grated and then pressed until a more or less dense cream is obtained.
Let yourself be tempted by this succulent recipe traditionally prepared with mahi mahi but which can easily be substituted for another white firm flesh fish like cod.
- 6 mahi mahi filets , deboned and without skin (previously frozen)
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 5 limes
- 3 tomatoes , diced
- 1 green hot pepper , sliced
- 2 red onions , diced
- 1 green bell pepper , diced
- 1 red bell pepper , diced
Cut the fish into small cubes.
In a glass container (not metal to avoid oxidation), mix the fish, lemon juice and mix well so that the fish absorbs all the juices.
Cover and place in the refrigerator for about 8 hours.
Drain the marinated fish, and add all the vegetables and coconut cream. Add salt and pepper.